7 Essential Tips for Emerging Filmmakers

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How To Make Your Own Movies

Filmmaking is an industry that requires not only the use of creativity and vision, but also knowledge of technique, editing software, and innovative methods. It is both creative and technical. It’s also important for amateur filmmakers to have the ability to identify good camera shots, from the knowledge of lighting to making decisions on audio and sound. For those who are just starting out in the art of filmmaking, here are some great tips you should utilise that can help you along the way.

Coordinate A Plan Of Action

This might be the first thing you want to do when you approach making a film. Besides having your screenplay written and mapped out, you need to have a clear plan of action for your film. Don’t underestimate timelines, and try to make sure you are covering every aspect of making your piece from start to finish.

Read books, take notes, and find the niche you plan to focus on – do you like romance? Horror? Comedy? Documentaries? Research needs to play a role in the path you choose, so make sure you explore all avenues. You may even want to go forward with screenplays of a few different niche’s and see which one really strikes your fancy.

Sound And Music Are Important

As mentioned, sound and audio are just as important in filmmaking as the vision of the film itself. Music and audio create a mood, helping to tell the story that the film is showing and also providing your piece with depth. Music and audio can be tough to come by without paying a lot. And you should always be sure that you are not using music that has royalties or copyright so that you don’t get slapped with extra fines on top. 

One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re using music free of royalties and copywrite infringement is by working with an agency that offers music licensing. You can find companies that have libraries of existing songs for you to choose from, and that customise music for your specific piece if you have something unique in mind.

Stay Away From Parodies

Many filmmakers try to take something that’s already been done and create a mash-up, or parody of the piece. Though this can sometimes prove to create a new spin on a concept, it is much too overdone and a lot of times the original artist who created it can tell that it was his/her work being drawn upon, and in other instances, become offended if being made fun of.

The key here is to create, and not steal, ideas. You have plenty of opportunities to draw upon and take advice from others’ work that can help to bring completely new ideas to the table without using the same storyline or idea that they had. The best part of it is that you will have a complete claim and copyright to anything or your own original work.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Mistakes

While filming, sometimes an actor or a setting can be made or created incorrectly, or just not as you had originally envisioned. Sometimes, it’s important to embrace some of these mishaps, because they can actually end up making your work better. Don’t be afraid to go back and examine scenes and see what might actually look or sound better for your piece. 

There are times when an interpretation is not the same as what the Director wanted, and even though 8 out of 10 times, the director makes that decision and will usually go with what they want – there are times when it can be a happy accident when something happens that was unplanned. Take advice from your actors and your staff, and be sure to open up your mind to those other possibilities as well.

Use Real Talent

So many filmmakers make the same mistake: using their friends and family in their films. It’s understandable because it’s easy, but you really shouldn’t do this unless you have truly talented family members or friends that have acting experience. If you want others to take your films seriously, the seriousness should start with you. Hold auditions for the roles within your screenplay and look for real talent. 

If you plan on going fully digital and using animation, you should still be sure to look for innate talent in your voices. Sometimes it’s easier to just use who is there and won’t expect pay, or who can work with your timeframe. You will most likely be surprised at the non-local talent within your area that can really put on a great show and tell your story the way you had hoped. 

Be Bold With Your Camera

Find places that might not normally go, and always bring your camera. Go for the close-ups in scenes instead of a bland, plain background. Don’t be plain! Go for the unique lamp and nightstand in the corner, an ornate bench in a park, or the fadeaway shot with that interesting looking chandelier. Try filling the screen with a face instead of a background for intense parts, where emotion needs to lead your story. 

Use places with cool landmarks or exotic-looking sites to give a unique perspective. Take your audience on a journey through your lens. Just do yourself a favor and add more color, more texture, to your shoots. 

Create A Budget

This may be included when you are creating your plan of action, but it is SO important to remember and expect costs. You can’t create a good film on a shoe-string budget. You may be able to save on different types of equipment and utilize cheaper production techniques, but you still have to be realistic about the expense of everything in the end. 

Through creating a clear vision and plan, finding a talented team, to making sure to utilise the not-so-frequented locations for shooting your scenes, you can start your path as an independent filmmaker. There is a lot to learn along the way, and be sure to learn from mistakes you make. Your first, second, and even tenth pieces you create may not be as fantastic as you had hoped, but if you continue to work on the parts that need your attention and improve with each new film, you will find what your audience will love.


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